Dark and discreet, The Varnish is a speakeasy lounge located in the historic core of downtown LA that features a vintage wooden bar, intimate atmosphere and immaculate hand-crafted cocktails.
Cocktail culture reaches new heights at The Varnish, a speakeasy bar found in downtown LA where the lights are dark, the cocktails are strong and the atmosphere is that of a clandestine rendezvous. An intimate space with wood paneling and candlelight, The Varnish is classy and discreet lounge that is easily one of the best cocktail bars in the country.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Venue CategoryBar in Los Angeles
Step through a discreet door into a darkened speakeasy and discover one of America’s best cocktail bars in the historic core of downtown Los Angeles. Tucked behind Cole’s restaurant, this wooden watering hole will make you feel like you’re back in the roaring 20s, from the vintage décor to the old-fashioned gin cocktails to the throwback outfits worn by the staff. A beautifully built bar with dark woods, exposed brick and candlelight, The Varnish has become the favorite incognito destination for celebrities, including Christina Hendricks and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Classy and clandestine, this intimate lounge features several small tables, a piano and a cocktail menu full of unique and unusual flavors to explore. Order drinks like The Poet's Dream, Bitter Bee or Sazerac, or simply have one of the bartenders customize a libation on the spot based on your favorite flavors and liquors. The Varnish brings mixology to new heights with expertly crafted cocktails – this is not the place to order a vodka-cran. The speakeasy's bar is a showcase for the amazing array of liquors they serve, along with an ice-down tray of fruits, herbs and spices to embellish the drinks. An ideal spot for a late-night rendezvous, The Varnish is a mainstay of LA's new cocktail culture.
Review By Shilo Urban
The Varnish is actually located inside Cole's restaurant, a historic establishment opened in 1908 that claims to have invented the French Dip roast beef sandwich.
The Varnish is a tiny place that fills up fast, so if you don’t like waiting in line, head there on weeknights or early in the evening on Friday and Saturday nights. Skid row is around the corner, so for best results, pay to park in a guarded lot.
Leave a Tip/Recommendation
For glitz, glamour and a good-looking crowd, head to the palatial Hollywood club Boulevard3, which features several bars and lounge areas, outdoor courtyard, stage performers and secret surprises. Check it out >>
6523 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood CA 90028
Loaded proves that sometimes the most fun places are just a little rough around the edges. Check it out >>
6377 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90028
When people talk about being on top of the world, it's fair to say they're talking about being at Yamashiro. Check it out >>1999 N Sycamore Ave
Hollywood CA 90069
Make sure you get tickets to see your favorite band play here quick- this venue has a tendency to attract sold out shows. Check it out >>3790 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90010
Sonny McClean's is a clover-colored, spacious Irish pub with all the traditional fixings along with great company – if you're a Boston sports fan.
Strap on your best hipster suspenders and wade into this whiskey lover's paradise this weekend.
Venice's On The Waterfront Café has amazing beachside views that will go perfectly with a little beer and sunshine this weekend.